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Bill Watts – TPC Executive Producer


 
Cultivating Employee 

Engagement

by Bill Watts 
July 13, 2016


 
If we really believe the Gallup survey, only 30% of American employees are engaged at work, that is, psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making a positive contribution to their organizations.  While it’s possible to question the accuracy of such surveys, it’s clear that employee engagement, however defined, is highly important to your company’s success.

Since we began helping corporations communicate with their employees through satellite-delivered programs and later, webcasts, the technology has changed a lot, but people have not.  Pay is important, but pay alone is not enough to satisfy them.  In simplest terms, people have a choice to do a great job or a mediocre one. They exercise this choice based on the emotional connection with the purpose of their project/team/organization.

 During our projects, we spoke with many employees of large enterprises who were located in the hinterlands of the U.S. or scattered in far-off countries and learned that they felt out of the loop, and, yes, even ignored by the folks who were running their companies.  We talked to quite a few of them in places as varied as Australia, Japan, the Middle East, and…Idaho.  They were thrilled to receive programs we were sending their way because they felt they were directly hearing what the company’s plans were and how they fit into those plans, or they were learning something meaningful to their jobs. 

Some of the isolated employees had an actual sighting of a high-ranking executive once or twice during their stay at their firms, but often felt at a loss to understand some of the twists and turns of corporate policy.  They got their information second, third or fourth-hand.  Then again, you couldn’t blame the executives tasked with running a large organization for not always having the time to visit every company location to talk to the troops. 

It goes without saying that communication with employees is crucial to the success of any company.  It also helps if the message is not diluted as it passes through multiple levels of the org chart.  Corporate leaders can often provide the inspiration that employees need to do their jobs well when they speak directly to them.

So whatever technology we used, we learned that efforts to improve the communication with employees outside headquarters or main offices usually pay off.  Those employees felt better appreciated and more motivated to perform when communication was direct and frequent. 

Have you been out of the loop at your company?  How does your firm deal with keeping employees informed, trained and motivated?   Please comment on Twitter @tpcnet.  Or drop me at note at bwatts@tpcnet.com.  

 


 
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Webinars that Work
by Bill Watts 
November 5, 2015


Creating a webinar has gotten a lot easier, but to create a good one still poses significant challenges. When we started helping clients with their webinars fifteen years ago, the technology was more primitive, but today, there are many more and better tools to help navigate the sometimes choppy waters of eLearning and IP.  The bottom line is that webinars have never looked better, and the technology continues to improve.

However, we still face the same issue as always – creating high quality content. To create a good webinar, you have to design the viewer experience to maximize the learning opportunity. Sure, you can put up a webinar that asks little of the viewer, but the return–in terms of engaging and educating the audience–will be little, too.  Learning is not a spectator sport.

Note that I distinguish between a webinar and a webcast. A webcast is a video event transmitted over the internet.  A webinar is a webcast that is intended to teach the audience something important, and in the corporate world, it is intended to make them more valuable employees.

If you are offering a live webinar experience, interactivity in the form of chat, email, and telephone questions can ratchet up the engagement of the audience. The presenters can respond in real time and speak directly to audience concerns.  However, live is not always possible or even desirable; so, on-demand webinars are used more often.  Viewer engagement is more difficult with on-demand webinars, but it still can be largely accomplished through a variety of techniques.  What’s required is that you anticipate your audience needs.

You should supply them relevant information before, during and after the webinar. Add downloadable supporting content in PDF or PowerPoint format, provide URLs for internal websites that contain materials they can use, and supply contact information for people who can answer questions later. All of these “add-ons” greatly enhance the viewer learning experience.  On-line integrated quizzes can be used to motivate close attention to the information.  After all, who wants their boss to see they got a failing grade?

One-size-fits-all does not apply to webinars; at TPC we have found ourselves developing a variety of approaches to meet our client needs. However, getting the best results still requires that we stick with some basics of instructional techniques.

I’d like to hear about your experience with webinars. Comment on twitter @tpcnet or send me a note at bwatts@tpcnet.com.